An eclectic variety of musicians and dancers will be performing as part of this year’s Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival, which opens tomorrow at the National Center for Traditional Arts in Yilan County.
As with past festivals, the Council for Cultural Affairs has cast its net wide in determining the “Asian” countries and cultures to be included, with musicians and dancers from Syria among those in this year’s line-up.
However, that works out for the best as far as audiences are concerned, because while the schedule may resemble a variety show, where else would you be able to see a Sufi dancer spinning, Indian gypsies singing and dancing and indigenous dancers from Sabah in Malaysia all in one day?
The first group of artists, who will be performing tomorrow through Oct. 5, are Persatuan Seni Budaya Sabah, a music and dance group from Malaysia; the Musafir Gypsies of Rajasthan, India, who first appeared at the festival in 2003; Abo Khalil Al Kabbani from Syria, which is made up of musicians from the Arab Institute of Music in Damascus and a Sufi dancer; and two local groups: the Sepiuma Tribe Choir from Taiwu Township (泰武) in Pingtung County and “Sound of Ocean” Amis Musical Group.
A second set of performers will give shows from Thursday through Oct. 10: the Xinjiang Awaty Dolan Muqam, who are Uigurs from China; the Japanese Puppet Theater (Bunraku) Ensemble; the Trimurti International Music Group from India and Taiwan, the Taipei Puppet Theater and Meinong Hakka’s Bayin Music Ensemble.
Several craftspeople will also be on hand to give demonstrations, including the body painting of Rajasthan; traditional hand beading from Sabah, making bamboo mouth harps by Taiwanese Aborigines, making of the Uigurs’ Qanun and Aijek instruments and the art of traditional Taiwanese puppet head painting.
The center’s exhibition hall is also hosting a special show on the Japanese arts of the Meiji period, although it runs through Jan. 8. The festival shows begin at 10am and run throughout the day, with the last performance starting at 4pm. Notices posted at the National Center for Traditional Arts will give the final rundown for each day’s schedule. Performances will be held in the theater, concert hall, covered stage and Wen-Chang Temple, while the craft demonstrations will take place on the first floor of the theater hall.
Admission to the center is NT$150 per person.